The next time you play "Slug Bug" while riding down the highway, you might want to wear a hand buzzer to be current with the times. A man in Southern California has turned his love with old Volkswagon Beetles into a hobby by giving them a makeover through converting them to electric engines. David Bernardo, who call's himself a Retro Futurist, is the Director of Research and Development at Zelectric Motors. His hobby of turning old Volkswagon Beetles into electric environment savers is beginning to catch on.
"It's the iconic car you grew up with, reborn. Classic outside, Tomorrowland-electric inside. 100% Plug-in. Lithium batteries. AC Motor. Charge at home, office or public charging station. 90-110 mile range. 80+ MPH. Pure adrenaline."The classic Volkswagon Beetle, or Slug Bug as it is often referred, has never really gone out of style. With the introduction of an electric engine, fans of the car can enjoy it even more, while saving the environment.
According to Perter Valdes-Dapena, of CNN.COM, Bernardo's process of converting an old Volkswagon Beetle to electric does not hurt the integrity of the iconic car, while still bringing it to modern times.
He starts with Volkswagen (VLKAF) Bugs from between 1958 and 1966 and pulls the noisy air-cooled gasoline engines from the back replacing them with electric motors. Under the hood he bolts a battery pack. Another set of batteries also goes behind the back seats. The conversion adds 350 pounds, but maintains the original car's balance.Bernardo is obviously proud of his Volkswagon Beetle Makeover and shares his vision and goal of the car.
Also retained is the original four-speed manual transmission. Most electric cars have only a single-speed transmission because, unlike gasoline engines, electric motors offer full pulling power at any speed.
The goal was to keep the cars as close to the original as possible.Currently, the Electric Volkswagon Beetle is not for sale. Zelectric Motors is still a start up company and is working on perfecting the make over. There are currently only two electric engine Volkswagon Beetles available, one red and the other black, but he hopes to begin selling them soon. The estimated cost of a converted beetle will be approximately $45,000.00. There is no word on whether Volkswagon plans to make a modern Beetle with an Electric Engine.
One of the biggest benefits of the electric conversion is that it makes the car easier to own. Besides being quiet and odorless, electric motors require almost no maintenance compared to a gasoline engine.
Photo Courtesy: Inside EVS